This was a tribe of people that lived in Arabia Petraea, between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. They were not the descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz, for they existed in the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:7). They were probably a tribe that migrated from the shores of the Persian Gulf and settled in Arabia.

“They dwelt in the land of the south… from Havilah until thou comest to Shur” (Numbers 13:29; 1 Samuel 15:7).

They were apparently a pastoral, and therefore probably a nomadic people. Their kings bore the hereditary name of Agag (Numbers 24:7; 1 Samuel 15:8). They attempted to stop the Israelites when they marched through their territory (Deuteronomy 25:18), attacking them at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-13; compare Deuteronomy 25:17; 1 Samuel 15:2).

Afterwards, they attacked the Israelites at Hormah (Numbers 14:45).

We read of them subsequently as being in league with the Moabites (Judges 3:13) and the Midianites (Judges 6:3). Saul finally desolated their territory and destroyed their power (1 Samuel 14:48; 15:3), and David recovered booty from them (1 Samuel 30:18-20).

In the Babylonian inscriptions they are called “Sute,” in those of Egypt “Sittiu,” and the Amarna tablets include them under the general name of “Khabbati,” or “plunderers.”

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